As a kid who grew up in the dense suburbs of Los Angeles, the first birds I remember seeing in our backyard were sparrows. I distinctively recall listening to their constant chirping (chirrup!) and admiring their nests, which seemed to be tucked into every nook and cranny.
But for all the fond memories I have of these birds, I now know that House Sparrows are non-native, invasive species that pillage resources, use up all the good nesting cavities, and wreak general havoc in ecosystems.
With all that being said, March 20 is World Sparrow Day.
Believe it or not, the number of sparrows throughout the world is falling at an alarming rate. While a decline in sparrow populations in the United States is actually a good thing in many aspects, the downward trend is alarming in places where they are native.
Sparrows live in close proximity with humans and act as a stand-in for the relationship between humans and nature. Because sparrows are dependent on us for a lot of things, the fact that they’re disappearing in places like the United Kingdom point to unhealthy human habits and a lack of conservationism. That’s where World Sparrow Day comes in.
This celebration of sparrows first came about in 2010 when Nature Forever Society of India set out to pick a day to raise awareness about the disappearance of sparrows and other wildlife. Here’s more from the World Sparrow Day site:
The idea was to earmark a day for the House Sparrow to convey the message of conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds and also mark a day of celebration to appreciate the beauty of the common biodiversity which we take so much for granted. Nature, we must understand, does not come with a lifetime guarantee.
Even though Americans aren’t lamenting the decline of sparrows in the United States, the day should still hold a special significance.
Many common birds that have a symbiotic relationship with humans here in the United States have also declined over the years. World Sparrow Day is when we should take a step back and look at why these birds are disappearing and understand that nature does not come with a lifetime guarantee.
The theme of this year’s World Sparrow Day is “I love Sparrows,” which focuses on our relationships with the birds. So, on March 20, when you go outside and see common backyard birds eating from your feeders, take a second to admire their beauty and know that your actions directly and indirectly affect their future.